Origin of name:

-cephalus = headed

Diagnostic characters:

White bracts
Compact inflorescence


Well-branched mat-forming perennial herb, branches slender, prostrate, older parts nude or leafy, rooting, new shoots closely silvery sericeous, leafy, often much abbreviated and then leaves more or less rosetted. Leaves up to 20 x 4 mm, lanceolate-elliptic, slightly falcate, apex acute, base slightly narrowed, clasping, both surfaces with silvery grey silky 'tissue-paper' indumentum. Heads homogamous, turbinate-campanulate, c. 5 mm long, up to c. 10 in a tight cluster on remotely leafy peduncles up to c. 60 mm long terminating the branchlets, peduncle, leaves, base of compound inflorescence and base of individual heads all enveloped in silvery 'tissue-paper' indumentum. Involucral bracts in c. 4 series, scarcely imbricate, outer larger than inner, spathulate, up to 6 x 3 mm, inner shorter and narrower, all petaloid, limb milk-white. Receptacle smooth. Flowers c. 17�20, yellow. Achenes 1 mm long, with elongated duplex hairs. Pappus bristles 5 or 6, equaling the corolla, tips subplumose, bases not cohering.

Flowering between December and February.


Often grows rooted in the turf immediately above Cave Sandstone cliffs, down which it then hangs in big mats, or insinuates itself into the turf seams of stony ridges.  Known only from the southern part of the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg, between Kamberg Nature Reserve (Estcourt district) and Thamatu Pass (Underberg district), and the Drakensberg outlier, Bamboo Mountain, also in Underberg district, between c. 1 830 and 2 350 m.

Grassland and Savanna Biomes.


A most distinctive species, with unusual involucral bracts.




Helichrysum hyphocephalum Hilliard in Notes R. bot. Gdn Edinb. 32: 352 (1973), Compositae in Natal 226 (1977).



KwaZulu-Natal, Estcourt distr., Kamberg Nature Reserve, 'Gladstone's Nose', stony ridges descending from summit cliffs of S-facing slope, SW. aspect, c. 2 060 m, 29 xii 1967, Wright 363 (NU, holo.; E; K; PRE, iso.).






Hilliard & Burtt 7833 (E; K; M; MO; NU; PRE; S).